In 2016, Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton became partners with the support of the CEDI program, and began to foster mutual understanding, respect, and trust in order to achieve joint economic development initiatives. Over the course of three years, relationship building and community engagement have been key components of this CEDI partnership, strengthening their joint economic and social development initiatives and encouraging an ongoing exploration of new mutually beneficial initiatives to collaborate on.
As the CEDI partners improved their government to government relationship through the CEDI Stronger Together approach, they identified several opportunities for collaboration, including: sports and recreation, supportive housing, parks, transit, land-use planning, and infrastructure services. The partnership continues to advance the following joint initiatives:
• The Boundary Interface Protocols and Strategies (BIPS): aims to result in a clear, concise framework that informs future processes and collaboration to address specific land use and infrastructure needs and potentially create policies and processes to guide future development between the shared boundary of Enoch Cree Nation, the City of Edmonton and Parkland County.
• The Woodbend-Big Island Park: presents an opportunity to co-manage and explore a joint cultural tourism initiative through a Provincial Park; these parklands are within the City of Edmonton limits, and are meaningful traditional lands for the Enoch Cree Nation. Together they have created Shared Guiding Principles and submitted a formal joint funding proposal to secure privately owned lands surrounding the proposed park area. The Shared Guiding Principles are beautifully presented in a large 8ft chart that was drawn by a graphic artist.
• Transit Connection between Enoch and Edmonton: by way of open and honest communication, it became increasingly clear that there is a great need for transit connection between the City of Edmonton and Enoch Cree Nation. In spring 2019, the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board invited Enoch Cree Nation to be part of its emerging Regional Transit Services Commission to formally include Enoch in transit planning.
• Lewis Farms / Sports and Recreation: given the close proximity of Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton neighbourhood, Lewis Farms, and the fact that a sports facility is proposed for each community, the two communities met to share plans, information and timelines. Partly due to this transparency, the communities are better able to ensure knowledgeable regional planning and create opportunity to maximize services to citizens on reserve and in city.
• Supportive Housing: the Collaborative Working Group continues to work together to further explore the potential for a joint housing initiative to meet the regional housing needs. Currently, both communities are working respectively to gather the necessary information and data to move this project forward; including, but not limited to: funding opportunities, land availability, and Enoch Cree Nation membership needs.
In addition, Enoch Cree Nation and City of Edmonton continue to meet on a range of issues and opportunities, including major community events such as, Hometown Hockey, which was hosted by Enoch Cree Nation and transit was supplied by the City of Edmonton.
On March 6th, 2019, Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton hosted their final CEDI workshop, focused on the potential to co-manage Woodbend-Big Island park, the Boundary Interface Protocols and Strategies (BIPS), and to discuss the continuation of their Collaborative Working Group. With this, the Enoch Cree Nation-City of Edmonton partnership formally graduated from the CEDI program!
While congratulations are in order, collaboration between the neighbours doesn’t stop here. Long-term success will depend on making joint community economic development the new standard. The completion of the CEDI program is not the end of the process for the Enoch-Edmonton partnership; instead, it is the start of a new way of understanding and collaborating with each another.
The CEDI team congratulates Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton for becoming stronger together!